Darklands MP

It's not easy creating an entire faction or era. Post your work and collaborate in this forum.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

waw
Posts: 162
Joined: August 8th, 2007, 1:08 am

Post by waw » August 23rd, 2007, 1:48 am

Wasn't the Vamp an inspiration for the faction?

Having it as a level 2 final advancement wouldn't be all that bad... a fairly powerful class at a quick level up... (Javelineer) but can't get stronger.

I agree about the loyalists but they don't have any gimmicks that make them nifty. Elves are um... elves... orcs = orcs... undead = undead... loyalists... just plain old humans that are a mix between post Roman Europe and modern incarnation of medieval europe.

They are awesome for sure... but they are also plain.
What would you give for your freedom?

User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL » August 23rd, 2007, 2:07 am

Point well taken, and rest assured the Dark Lords beat the loyalists hands down in terms of niftiness. It's just in the area of actual strategic merit that I believe they could be found, well, a little bit lacking. Assaults typically are not carried through successfully by being nifty.

User avatar
Casual User
Posts: 475
Joined: March 11th, 2005, 5:05 pm

Post by Casual User » August 23rd, 2007, 2:13 am

First, an apology.

I was way too abrupt with Qes, to the point of impoliteness, and I apologise for it. I appreciate suggestions and feedback, including those I disagree with, and I hope there are no hard feelings.

That being said, my opinion on vampires and dark lords remains the same. Including a vampire lord as a LVL3 alternative advancement for the nobleman line is an idea. I've even made art for it (not much in the way of art, but...).

However, an entire line of vampires is an idea I'll decline. Two or three lines of vampire-related fantasy units is an idea I'll definitely decline.

Second, an idea.

I've been thinking about it, and while I'm not 100% convinced, TL has a point about the need for a cheap damage dealer. So I've had an idea how this may be achieved:
The Henchman loses skirmisher but have his attack bumped up to 5-4.
The Bladesman stays the same, but is renamed 'Ambusher'.
This would give them a cheap (14gp) unit which can deal 20 base damage (up to 28 in good TOD and with strong) but which would also be unique among hitters because of its speed (6mp), elusiveness and lack of resilience (28HP, can't get resilient trait).

It would also change the henchman from a 'chaotic fencer' into a fairly original unit. It would, I feel, maintain factional originality as the heavy damage dealer would deal good damage, but won't be able to take much of it...

However, it's a fairly big change in faction dynamics, since they'll effectively lose access to LVL1 skirmisher, so I wanted to see what people thought about it first.

As a quick reply to TL, the fire arrows are actually very useful. Apart from making the archer a must have against undead, it also makes him much more useful against loyalists (heavy infantry, pikemen), helps out against trolls, etc...

Third, an announcement.

I've managed to code the fearsome charge, which has been changed into an ability which makes dark riders take 50% less damage on attack from lower level ennemies (not much difference, granted).

Fearsome+charge is extremely powerful. I've had to remove LVL2 cavalry from the leader list to avoid unbalancing.

That being said, I used a very ugly hack which makes the game run a little bit more slowly, and I don't guarantee the lack of bugs. It's worked fine so far, but...

In any case, given the shaky WML and development-stage quality, I've decided to release the Darklands first on the forum before putting it on the campaign server.

Balancing can start at last...

EDIT:
NEWER VERSION AVAILABLE, CHECK FURTHER IN THE THREAD.
Last edited by Casual User on August 24th, 2007, 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL » August 23rd, 2007, 6:44 am

Casual User wrote:
The Henchman loses skirmisher but have his attack bumped up to 5-4.
The Bladesman stays the same, but is renamed 'Ambusher'.
This would give them a cheap (14gp) unit which can deal 20 base damage (up to 28 in good TOD and with strong) but which would also be unique among hitters because of its speed (6mp), elusiveness and lack of resilience (28HP, can't get resilient trait).
Hmmmmm. That might work. Doesn't quite stand up on its own as a pure grunt but the speed does give it a unique edge. On its own it couldn't carry the faction the way grunts do for northerners, say, but coupled with the unusually-good (but offensively lacking) archers it could work.
Casual User wrote:As a quick reply to TL, the fire arrows are actually very useful. Apart from making the archer a must have against undead, it also makes him much more useful against loyalists (heavy infantry, pikemen), helps out against trolls, etc...
Didn't say they weren't useful, just that a lot of the time they're not doing anything. Aside from undead, they are useful against one loyalist recruit, one northerner recruit, one rebel recruit, one knalgan recruit (6-2 pierce and 6-2 fire both become 5-2 against dwarf fighters/ulfserkers/thunderers, guardsmen are the only L1 unit where the difference shows up), and... well, 2 drake recruits but you'd probably want the sword against augurs anyhow.
Casual User wrote:In any case, given the shaky WML and development-stage quality, I've decided to release the Darklands first on the forum before putting it on the campaign server.

Balancing can start at last...
I assume that this is for dev branch due to the inclusion of fearless, but the era file is using the old locations for the default era factions (the dev branch has them in multiplayer/factions/etc instead of just factions).

A couple notes: I hadn't noticed the extremely low XP required for the wolf. This may be a cause for concern; at the standard 70% XP setting they level in one kill, and with a 3x marksman attack they can get kills quite reliably (in contrast to bats, which at 10 XP to level are the closest default era unit in terms of XP to level, and which have a two-shot attack that's much worse at scoring kills). Wolves look pretty decent for their cost even without the super-easy leveling, and it's a very solid levelup too.

Dark nobles also have an XP requirement that seems a little low. The dark lord line is not a particularly good upgrade so a high XP requirement would not be expected there, but warlocks are pretty awfully powerful for having a relatively low XP requirement (the lack of a L3 upgrade is excusable in a support unit, particularly in multiplayer where L3s wouldn't be expected to arise often). I suppose being descended from a very expensive unit (and one that's not especially good at racking up kills) it might not be too bad, though.

User avatar
Casual User
Posts: 475
Joined: March 11th, 2005, 5:05 pm

Post by Casual User » August 24th, 2007, 2:23 am

TL, on the henchman as grunt wrote:On its own it couldn't carry the faction the way grunts do for northerners, say, but coupled with the unusually-good (but offensively lacking) archers it could work.
That was, more or less, the point. I've implemented the idea, and it seems to work out fine.
TL wrote:I assume that this is for dev branch due to the inclusion of fearless, but the era file is using the old locations for the default era factions (the dev branch has them in multiplayer/factions/etc instead of just factions).
Let's hear it for inter-versional differencies.

I use an older version of the dev branch which still located the factions that way.

I've attached below a new version of the darklands faction that should work on both systems.

I've also made two changes in this new version:

1. Henchman changed into cheap damage dealer. Already discussed.

2. Strongman gets, in addition to the 18-1 bladed axe attack, a 14-1 impact axe attack. Giant gets a 22-1 impact axe attack along the 28-1 bladed one.

In my mind, it's obvious why a ~2.4m tall guy with bulging muscles and an axe the size of a regular man should be quite efficient against skeletons and should at least be able to knock out a heavily armored man.

However, for the purists that walk among us (you know who you are), let us say that his axe is, in fact, a splitting maul, and has both an axe-blade and a maul-end.

----------------------------------------

I have played a number of games against the AI, and I think they have sufficient offensive power as is given how easily I won each time.

I'm starting to wonder, in fact if the strongman and archer line aren't a tad over-powered.

To answer a few comments:
TL wrote:A couple notes: I hadn't noticed the extremely low XP required for the wolf. This may be a cause for concern; at the standard 70% XP setting they level in one kill
Something of a concern, yes.

Wolves are indeen fairly easy to level when part of a balanced group. That being said, even LVL1 wolves aren't great fighters, the lack of HP is rather stinging. A kill that levels up a wolf is also a kill that could have helped level up a better unit...

That being said, setting XP up to 13 or 14 may be a good idea.
TL wrote:Dark nobles also have an XP requirement that seems a little low. The dark lord line is not a particularly good upgrade so a high XP requirement would not be expected there, but warlocks are pretty awfully powerful for having a relatively low XP
You know, after playing with them, I believe the noble is grossly over-priced. He currently costs as much as two archers, and there are few circumstances where a noble is really that much better than two archers...

I'm thinking, in fact, of reducing his price all the way down to 20gp. I don't think it will overpower the LVL1 noble, but as you said, I'll probably have to nerf the warlock a little.

Reducing his curse attack to 4-5 would do the trick, IMO.

--------------------------------------------

And now, version 0.2:

EDIT : LATEST VERSION AVAILABLE ON CAMPAIGN SERVER.
Last edited by Casual User on August 28th, 2007, 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL » August 24th, 2007, 3:45 am

Are you ever about on the 1.3.6 server? This demands proper playtesting. The AI is a terrible way to test balance. Here, especially, the AI's complete lack of defensive sense plays heavily to the darklands guys' advantages.
Casual User wrote:
TL wrote:A couple notes: I hadn't noticed the extremely low XP required for the wolf. This may be a cause for concern; at the standard 70% XP setting they level in one kill
Something of a concern, yes.

Wolves are indeen fairly easy to level when part of a balanced group. That being said, even LVL1 wolves aren't great fighters, the lack of HP is rather stinging. A kill that levels up a wolf is also a kill that could have helped level up a better unit...

That being said, setting XP up to 13 or 14 may be a good idea.
Level 1 wolves might not be great fighters, but neither are any other level 1 scout units. Even if they had no marksman ability they would be viable level 1s (arguably better than the level 1 bats, which are more expensive and take more XP and are bad at making kills), and marksman is very potent, especially since it contributes in an area this faction is lacking in (concentrated offensive power vs. enemy strongpoints).
Casual User wrote:You know, after playing with them, I believe the noble is grossly over-priced. He currently costs as much as two archers, and there are few circumstances where a noble is really that much better than two archers...

I'm thinking, in fact, of reducing his price all the way down to 20gp. I don't think it will overpower the LVL1 noble, but as you said, I'll probably have to nerf the warlock a little.

Reducing his curse attack to 4-5 would do the trick, IMO.
Er... I think you are grossly underestimating the Slow ability, particularly in the hands of a durable unit with a hefty melee attack to complement its ranged slow. 20 gold wouldn't be a bad deal for them if their curse was just a generic 4-2 ranged attack (although with the strongman having impact too that would make them partially redundant). Getting slow thrown in for that cost is huge.

I mean, compare elf shaman (15 gold) to saurian augur (16 gold). You're looking at a 3-2 slow attack vs. a 5-3 magical attack (aligned, which I generally consider a net positive). Slow is being weighed (soft of, at any rate, I realize I'm taking things slightly out of context) against an attack two and a half times more powerful and magical.

Admittedly the game is a little bit freer when it comes to giving slow to L2 units, but there is a reason that slow is available in only 1 recruitable default era unit, a unit which coincidentally has attacks that make the venerable footpad look like an offensive powerhouse by comparison.

And a 5 or 6 hit slow is itself a very formidable attack, even when it's not attached to a unit which has very respectable mixed melee/ranged damage and great durability. For a L2 unit that's not so difficult to get I think something like 7-3 slow might be more reasonable if you want to combine slowing power with some modest damage dealing capability.
Casual User wrote:2. Strongman gets, in addition to the 18-1 bladed axe attack, a 14-1 impact axe attack. Giant gets a 22-1 impact axe attack along the 28-1 bladed one.
This should not be unduly unbalancing; from the perspective of an undead force, this essentially means the strongman is an overpriced troll that doesn't regenerate, so if trolls don't dominate undead too horribly (and they don't) then it's very unlikely that the strongman will make undead matchups unfair with this.

Fred
Posts: 42
Joined: July 29th, 2007, 7:22 am
Location: Washington

Post by Fred » August 24th, 2007, 7:32 am

TL wrote:Hmm. You've got a swordsman and a giant, but where's the funny little bald guy who's not as clever as he thinks he is?
INCONCEIVABLE!!!

I loved that movie. :D
If you have to ask.......

User avatar
Casual User
Posts: 475
Joined: March 11th, 2005, 5:05 pm

Post by Casual User » August 26th, 2007, 3:21 am

TL wrote:Are you ever about on the 1.3.6 server? This demands proper playtesting. The AI is a terrible way to test balance.
Agreed. The AI is terrible, but I'm indeed not much in the habit of going on the server.

Tell you what, why don't we set up a time when we can both be on the server? I'm usually on the net from 2:00 to 4:00 AM, in standard forum time (probably Greenwhich time, but I'm not sure).
TL wrote:Level 1 wolves might not be great fighters, but neither are any other level 1 scout units. Even if they had no marksman ability they would be viable level 1s (arguably better than the level 1 bats
But bats are considerably better scouts than the wolves are. Bats have 8MP as opposed to 7.33 for wolves, and bats are fliers, whereas wolves are mere woodland movers. Their superior village grabbing abilities make up for their higher cost.

I've officially increased the XP requirements for the wolf up to 14, but I don't think I'll decrease their power in any other way unless it causes perceptible problems in gameplay.
TL, about me considering the noble overpriced, wrote:Er... I think you are grossly underestimating the Slow ability, particularly in the hands of a durable unit with a hefty melee attack to complement its ranged slow.
I think you're right, especially given the shaman/augur comparison, maybe I just don't know how to use 'slow' properly...
TL, about the warlock, wrote:For a L2 unit that's not so difficult to get I think something like 7-3 slow might be more reasonable if you want to combine slowing power with some modest damage dealing capability.
Point taken, except the idea wasn't to give him some damage dealing capability, it was to give him very good chances of his curse taking effect (i.e. hitting).

I have officially reduced his attack to 4-5, and I could further decrease his HP to 42 if he proves overpowered, but I won't reduce his curse attack beneath that.

----------------------------------------------------------------

I have started writing descriptions, and since I've yet to write out a real flavor text, I think I'll post them here, for background.
Wolf wrote:Behind every fern and every tree of the Darklands lurk the spies and assassins of the dark lords. Large, vicious wolves, bound to their master's will by brutal taming -though it is whispered dark magics may have taken a part in it- prowl, ever on the lookout. The fearsome creatures's speed have proven effective for spying, and raiding villages; and anyone relying on stealth rather than force has better reconsider, for the wolf's cruel jaws and keen nose will find him anywhere
Dire Wolf wrote:It is said that some of the wolves haunting the Darklands's forests, fed by their masters on human flesh -and, it is whispered, strengthened through dark magics- are more than mere wolves. In the dead of night, when a horrible howl freezes your heart with fear, know that their fearsome jaws are also near...
Strongman wrote:Men of tremendous size and strength are sometimes born to the peasents of the Darklands, to grow up surrounded by superstition, hatred and awe. Their life is often a brutish one, forever on the fring of village society, even their cloudy minds refusing them much help. But they may find gold, and license to bully those that always secretly hated them, and that they always secretly hated, among the troops of the dark lords.
That's all for now.

Qes
Posts: 357
Joined: August 9th, 2007, 10:28 pm
Location: Minnesota

Post by Qes » August 26th, 2007, 4:33 am

TL wrote:
Qes wrote:People like vampires.
People like NASCAR too but that doesn't mean this should be turned into a racecar faction.

That is the single best argument I've ever heard anyone make - ever.
-Qes
Yes I use windows.
Yes I'm aware of what that means.
Yes I'm still gonna use windows.

Stilgar
Posts: 465
Joined: January 21st, 2006, 8:22 pm

Post by Stilgar » August 26th, 2007, 5:28 am

On the sprites, I find the knight units to be a little odd-looking. I can see what they're supposed to be, but at first glance with that pose and design I can't help but see a centaur carrying a shield (the horse's head) instead.

User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL » August 26th, 2007, 9:12 pm

Casual User wrote:
TL wrote:Are you ever about on the 1.3.6 server? This demands proper playtesting. The AI is a terrible way to test balance.
Agreed. The AI is terrible, but I'm indeed not much in the habit of going on the server.

Tell you what, why don't we set up a time when we can both be on the server? I'm usually on the net from 2:00 to 4:00 AM, in standard forum time (probably Greenwhich time, but I'm not sure).
I'm often online around that time, so if you want to try a test game one of these nights it should work out pretty well.

User avatar
Casual User
Posts: 475
Joined: March 11th, 2005, 5:05 pm

Post by Casual User » August 27th, 2007, 12:53 am

I wrote:Tell you what, why don't we set up a time when we can both be on the server?
After experimentation, it seems I can never be on the server...

The official BFW server requires version 1.3.6, which I have yet to download. So, until I find a spare six hours to download it, it seems play-testing will have to go on without me.
Master Stilgar wrote:On the sprites, I find the knight units to be a little odd-looking. I can see what they're supposed to be, but at first glance with that pose and design I can't help but see a centaur carrying a shield (the horse's head) instead.
I know what you mean. I have made a concious choice to give them a grey-black steel instead of the standard bluish steel Wesnoth sprites have, and overall I like it.

Unfortunately, 'black horse' + 'rider in black-grey armor' = 'big gray blob'.

The simplest solution would be to give the horse a coloured, or maybe TColored, cover.

User avatar
Casual User
Posts: 475
Joined: March 11th, 2005, 5:05 pm

Post by Casual User » August 28th, 2007, 2:35 pm

Well, I can't state for a fact that the Darklands will work fine with 1.3.6, but since I have yet to receive bug reports on the versions posted on the forum, I've decided to put it up on the server.

User avatar
Casual User
Posts: 475
Joined: March 11th, 2005, 5:05 pm

Post by Casual User » August 30th, 2007, 12:15 am

I hate triple-posting, but I hope the moderators will look with kindness upon it, as the three messages had very distinct messages.

This one is to signal a bug.

Sometimes, after attacking with a dark rider (or other member of its unit tree), you can attack again (but can't move).

This is, of course, unwanted. It's probably a glitch with the storing/unstoring. Until I can fix it, let's say it works on an honor code. Don't abuse the bug you know about...

Weeksy
Posts: 1016
Joined: January 29th, 2007, 1:05 am
Location: Oregon

Post by Weeksy » August 30th, 2007, 1:48 am

Try moving a knight through another one, or just getting two or three in general. It has caused some of my units to dissapear on occasion :P
If enough people bang their heads against a brick wall, The brick wall will fall down

Post Reply